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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the…

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Jonas Jonasson

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2,6192072,287 (3.68)145
Title:The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Authors:Jonas Jonasson
Info:Hyperion (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, world history, humor, Sweden

Work details

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (2009)

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» See also 145 mentions

English (137)  Spanish (17)  Dutch (14)  German (13)  French (10)  Catalan (5)  Norwegian (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (207)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
A nice, light summer read. ( )
  heggiep | Aug 18, 2014 |
Dit boek begint met de titel en dat vat het verhaal ook samen: Op zijn honderdste verjaardag beslist Allan Karlson om te verdwijnen. We volgen hem in een onvoorspelbare tocht door Zweden en leren hoofdstuk per hoofdstuk meer kennen over zijn wonderbaarlijke verleden. Hij neemt je mee naar de geschiedenis van de twintigste eeuw van Eerste Wereldoorlog tot de rakettencrisis in de jaren tachtig. En telkens speelde hij per toeval een hoofdrol. Het is prachtig geschreven en lees heel vlot. Het enige dat mij stoorde was de poging van de auteur om ook een geschiedenisles in zijn boek te verwerken. Dat paste niet bij de impulsieve en ontwapende (dit woord is wel dubieus als je het boek hebt gelezen) honderdjarige Alan. Daarom komen de historische passages soms wat geforceerd over. Het geniaal uitgewerkte hoofdpersonage maakt deze kritiek onbelangrijk en doet elke lezer op z'n minst glimlachen wanneer hij tot zijn ontsnapping uit het bejaardentehuis een loopje neemt met de geschiedenis. ( )
  pieterserrien | Aug 16, 2014 |
Pure escapism. (Pun not originally intended, but noticed before writing it down.) Until I picked this up again, I hadn't realised how much stress there was in the other books I'd been reading (including 6/13 of the Booker longlist). Why was I doing that to myself when I didn't have to? This is holiday reading and a holiday from the other reading. Here, huge problems melt away as easily as in a daydream about winning the Euromillions.

Although they may require a little patience: Allan Karlsson spent quite a few of his hundred years stuck in places you really wouldn't want to be stuck in - served well by his unwittingly Taoist outlook of "Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be." A heck of a lot happens the rest of the time, and not a few explosions.

Other than noticing it was becoming a bestseller, I hadn't read anything about The Hundred Year Old Man since this pre-publication article over two years ago -
and unexpectedly it's an action comedy - one of my favourite types of films, and my absolute favourite non-arty one. Something I'm not used to in adults' books without SFF. And it's not quite so twee as as first suggested by the presence of a pet elephant, and Bucket and Bolt, small-time gangsters who sound like they were named by a six-year-old.

Still, it does have that childrens-book-for-adults feeling that's rather popular at the moment. Allan's accidentally-on-purpose globetrotting takes him through a lot of major political events of the twentieth century, including various wars and repressive regimes; atrocities are sometimes alluded to in that undetailed, matter-of-fact and almost jaunty manner of some kids' history books that predate the Horrible Histories level of description. It may look terribly flippant as an adult, but I can say from experience that encountering phrases like "the other prisoners were tortured, which was a very bad thing" in childhood are no impediment to later taking asylum seekers and the work of Amnesty International seriously. (If you read a lot of serious books, it is still sometimes odd that things are solved so easily, which I thought about particularly when one of Allan's escapades involved a situation that a distant-ish relative perished in - but it's all so silly that you get carried along with it. Anyway, war veterans weren't offended by La Grande Vadrouille - a similar sort of caper about the same generation.) And - also rather like a children's story, everything is sorted out by a series of hilariously absurd deus(dei?)-ex-machina. There are many of these yet I never stopped laughing at them. And having switched off on purpose - plus the author is quite inventive - hardly any of them were predictable in their exact form. Rules of grown-up storytelling as well as of social conduct (e.g. "What do you think about becoming a spy?" in a crowded restaurant as a means of recruitment) are comically broken.

I haven't read the book of Forrest Gump and don't plan to (didn't like the film, apologies to one friend to whom it's a favourite, though he probably isn't reading). Whilst Allan Karlsson has an eccentric disregard for certain social niceties, with his complete lack of interest in politics, choosing sides simply on how he sees people behave in front of him - and a sense of human equality so strong that he doesn't apply different standards to presidents and dictators than to anyone else, he's obviously pretty bright in some fields, and can be quite cunning socially where required. (If there's any "moral" from this story, it's about how useful it is to have an internationally transferrable skill or two.) So whilst his turning up in momentous situations beyond his ken is not unlike Zelig, Gump and Chauncey Gardner, he's a somewhat more astute operator than any of them.

I didn't intend ever to watch the Hundred Year Old Man film when I started the book (nor that it would end up, neatly, as my 100th finished book of 2014 - but when I was at 99 and this was still in currently reading...). It's a story which lends itself terribly well to other formats: the beginning is so full of possible choices and clearly delineated consequences that it would make a perfect text adventure; the rest of the book would be easily elaborated into one too. And a caper like this is ideal for film. Was glad to see it was a Swedish production and that the Americans hadn't bought the rights instead. So used to British and American adventures, I loved the way that home, the mental centre of the book, was in a slightly different place from usual, and the subtly different, more neutral set of values (rather than Empire-building etc) behind Allan's escapades. Although there is one hell of a spectacular explosion scene about 2/3 of the way through, which could be phenomenal in the hands of a great action director... I want to see how it's done, regardless.

Having read an article recently asserting that bestsellers say something about their times, I wanted to attempt some sort of wankerish analysis. There is an obvious trend with this and Harold Fry; why do people so much like the elderly having adventures? The recession-led harshness about the deserving and undeserving, which almost always considers the old deserving of leisure and others not? (And increasingly old given the push to keep more over-60s in work). The sense that the old are entitled to be eccentric (popularised by copious quoting of 'When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn't go')? The growing population of older people who are still fit and active? A perception of older people - including older men - as relatively harmless and possibly wise - whereas younger men and macho-ness are culturally out of mainstream-broadsheet favour? ( )
  antonomasia | Aug 15, 2014 |
Großartig! Spannend von der ersten bis zur letzten Seite. ( )
  Telaara_Dunwin | Aug 10, 2014 |
A little humorous, enjoyable read about an interesting old man who decides to escape the nursing home. Turns out he has had quite the interesting life, and he meets up with a few other oddball characters while unwittingly being chased by a criminal. Lots of convenient turns of plot but a good read in the end. ( )
  pdepena | Jul 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
Stalin synger svenske drikkeviser, og Truman blir dritings .Forrest Gump som hundreåring i ny bok.
ANMELDELSE: Han redder general Franco, riktignok etter først å ha plassert en bombe for å drepe ham. Han avverger et attentat mot Churchill, og gir Oppenheimer den endelige løsningen på formelen for atombomben.

Det rene soap altså. Samtidig er det — på sin høyst skakke og fantasifulle måte — en fantastisk reise gjennom forrige århundre.

Jonas Jonassen er intelligent, vittig og systemkritisk, der han harver over alt fra fjollete politifolk, rasehygienikere og despoters ideologiske paranoia. I en bok som gir håp om at alle har en fremtid, også hundreåringer.
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Cathrine Krøger (Jan 18, 2011)

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonas Jonassonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Černík, ZbyněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bjørnson, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RodTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bree, Corry vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podestà Heir, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be."
Ingen kunde trollbinda sin publik bättre än morfar där han satt på ljugarbänken, lätt framåtlutad över sin käpp och med munnen full av snus.
– Nej men... är det sant, morfar? sa vi häpna barnbarn.
– Di söm bara säjer dä söm ä sanning, ä inte vär' å höra på, svarade morfar.
Den här boken är till honom.
An extra thank you to Micke, Liza, Rixon, Maud and Uncle Hans.
- Jonas
First words
Monday, 2nd May 2005

You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to tell the others of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Confined to a nursing home and about to turn 100, Allan Karlsson, who has a larger-than-life back story as an explosives expert, climbs out of the window in his slippers and embarks on an unforgettable adventure involving thugs, a murderous elephant and a very friendly hot dog stand operator.… (more)

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